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Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualifier back on after rain delay
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Press Association
Ground staff had to clear water from the Hampden pitch (Jane Barlow/PA)
Ground staff had to clear water from the Hampden pitch (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Georgia was held up for almost two hours after starting in farcical conditions following a heavy downpour in the hour before kick-off at Hampden.

The game was suspended immediately after Callum McGregor fired Scotland into a sixth-minute lead but it eventually resumed following several pitch inspections.

It was immediately clear the game was in doubt following the 7.45pm start. Simple passes were getting stuck, water was splashing up with every step and a well-struck shot from the visitors almost stopped in the goalmouth, although it was going wide anyway.

McGregor netted after John McGinn’s sixth-minute corner ricocheted back to the midfielder, before the referee went off to have discussions with an official on the sidelines.

The Georgia players remonstrated over the conditions and Hungarian referee Istvan Vad signalled for both teams to leave the pitch several minutes later.

It was soon announced there would be a reassessment of the pitch in 20 minutes’ time, and fans were then told there would be another 10-minute delay.

The rain began to ease but a large volume of water was still being swept off the surface by ground staff, ball boys and other officials as the referee carried out his inspection.

The inspection was being carried out to the strains of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and Garbage’s I’m Only Happy When It Rains on the public address system.

Every successful bounce of the ball and pass was cheered by the Hampden crowd before the referee went back off and down the tunnel.

The announcement was then made that the players would be back out at 8.45pm for a 10-minute warm-up and the game would then restart with Scotland 1-0 up.

Vad continued to test the roll and bounce of the ball as the players warmed up amid a light drizzle before the referee disappeared back down the tunnel yet again.

About half a dozen stewards joined the attempts to sweep water out of the Scotland penalty box as the players warmed up and waited for the referee to emerge.

There was further confusion as both teams again left the park before it was then announced to the crowd that the game was scheduled to resume at 9.15pm, with further emphasis placed on the word scheduled.

The Scotland players came back out again with several minutes to spare, with the pitch looking much improved, although still not ideal. Crucially, the rain had stopped. There was no sign of the visiting team or the referee though.

Vad appeared at 9.17pm to take another look at the surface and disappeared back down the tunnel two minutes later amid claims the Georgians were refusing to leave their dressing room.

It was then announced that the game would resume at 9.30pm.

Georgia returned to the pitch to loud jeers, Scotland went off and back on again, and the match eventually restarted at 9.33pm with the visitors taking centre following McGregor’s goal.


ScotlandGeorgiaEuropean Championship
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